On February 27, 2017, during the launch of my book, The Sin I Knew, three seminarians asked for a copy of my book. My heart leapt up in sheer joy.
I told them that I’d be willing to give them free copies. But they insisted that they had money and that they wanted to share the book with their parents.
To me, the special request of the seminarians—high school students at the St. Pius X Seminary—was worth more than the adulation, the compliments, the money I received.
A seminarian gave me his last name as Escolin. I am familiar with that name. It turned out that his father is a relative of Judge Venicio Escolin, whose son Charles was my student in Philosophy and whose other son Philip was one of the participants in the Days with the Lord weekend recollection I had conducted in the early 1970s in Roxas City.
Judge Escolin himself was my former high school teacher in English and Public Speaking at the St. Pius X Seminary.
What sweet moments to remember!
The book launching in Roxas City was a memorable for me. I relish the thought that it was some kind of a homecoming to the seminary where I studied and taught.
I studied high school in St. Pius X Seminary from 1957 to 1962, and first year college in 1963.
I taught Philosophy there from 1970 to 1973. I felt very grateful when Father Freddie Billanes, then rector of the seminary, encouraged me to hold the book launching there.
When he told me that Archbishop Jose Advincula wanted to attend but on a date he specified—February 27, 2017—I was most willing to accommodate.
On the day of the book launching, the day was fine. Over one hundred seminarians and fifty-plus guests came and filled the chapel of the seminary.
It was a short program with an introduction by Dr. Abundio Balgos; a talk by my classmate Fr. Jose Parohinog; a message by Archbishop Advincula; a musical number rendered by the seminary choir; and my own talk—after which the cutting of the ribbon followed at the chapel’s entrance.
Archbishop Advincula and Melanie del Rosario-Arancillo assisted me in the ribbon-cutting.
Then the book-signing took place in the seminary quadrangle. My sister Artily Inocencio, my brother Nory and his wife Mimi and Sr. Feliza Declaro, R.V.M., sat behind a table loaded with my books to attend to those wishing to get a copy of the book.
I sat behind another table nearby for the book-signing. Friends Terry Beldia, Daday Acevedo and Fe Gomez-Villarruz stood behind me.
As I signed the books, I could not help but glance at the seminary’s buildings around the quadrangle.
I used to teach on the fourth floor behind the stage. My bedroom was on the front fourth floor of the building facing the basketball court below.
When I was a first-year seminarian in 1957, the quadrangle had a huge rock jutting out from the ground. It took a year for the rock to be removed.